Russia's Luna-25 enters Moon orbit, gears for soft landing

The race to the Moon is heating up!
Mrigakshi Dixit
Earth's moon.
Earth's moon.


Russia has returned to the Moon after an almost 47-year gap. The recently launched Luna-25 spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Wednesday, August 16.

Russia’s Luna-24, the last lunar mission, entered the Moon's orbit in 1976. 

“All Luna-25 systems are functioning normally; communication with it is stable. Sessions are being taken to measure the current navigational parameters," Roskosmos, Russia's space corporation, posted on Telegram (translation via Google).

The spacecraft will orbit the Moon for at least five days before slowly landing softly on the lunar south pole on August 21.

"Entering lunar orbit is absolutely critical for the success of this project. This is a first for the post-Soviet period," Anatoly Zak, the creator and publisher of, told Reuters

"Some are calling this the second lunar race so it is very important for Russia to resume this program. Luna-25 is not just one mission - it is part of a much broader Russian strategy that stretches 10 years into the future," added Zak, who keeps track of the nation’s space missions. 

The soft landing mission clashes with India's Chandrayaan-3, attempting to touch the south pole around August 23. 

It will be anticipated to see which country is the first to land on the challenging terrain of the Moon's south pole. 

Luna-25 will operate for a year

This small-car-sized lander will function on the south pole for considerably longer, at least a year, to discover evidence of frozen water.

Compared to Russia, India's lander and rover will function for roughly one lunar day — equivalent to 14 Earth days.

In this time frame, Luna-25 will collect data on lunar soil, search for frozen water, and examine the Moon's extremely thin atmosphere with its suite of eight sophisticated science instruments. 

This mission lifted on Soyuz 2.1 rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East on August 10. And soon after this launch, the spacecraft sent back its first views of Earth and the Moon on Sunday, August 12. 

Meanwhile, India's third lunar mission, launched on August 7, will orbit the Moon slightly longer than Luna-25 before landing on August 23. 

Several space organizations, including those of the United States and China, have set the South Pole as a target site because of its pristine landscape, which has remained the same for the past billions of years. Furthermore, the region experiences perpetual darkness, preserving a reserve of frozen water.

Studying the South Pole might help us learn more about the Earth's origin and early years and mine valuable resources and minerals for future space colonies. 

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